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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

The price of your new solar system will, of course, depend on how big it is. Or to put it another way - how many kiloWatts (kW) you choose to install.

You'll be pleased to know that prices have dropped significantly since I, Finn Peacock, started SolarQuotes back in 2009 (when a piddly 1kW system cost $10,000!) - the Australian Photovoltaic Institute summarises recent price trends quite well (page 38).

And despite what you may have heard, the price you pay is still heavily subsidised by the government-run solar rebate scheme.

The rebate fluctuates based on the value of things called STCs. With the current price of STC's (as of October 2017) you are looking at up-front savings of about $600 per kW installed. 

Here's how the pricing works out for a typical 3kW system: 

(Note: these solar panel prices are very approximate and assume quality components. To get an accurate pricing for your particular situation, I would advise getting 3 quotes from local installers)

Typical cost of an installed 3kW solar system: $6,500
Government Rebate:   $1,800
Cost to you for 3kW of solar power: Approx $4,700

 

Whether a 3kW system is an appropriate size for you or not is a good, and difficult, question to answer. It is not as simple as buying a solar system that generates the same amount of electricity that your household uses. Why? It is a long answer and it's here

If you clicked the previous link your head may be spinning (especially if you watched the video of me droning on!). If it is all a bit much, consider getting 3 quotes through this site. Then the solar power system installers can advise you exactly what you will need based on your energy consumption habits and location.

Approximate Costs of Bigger Solar Systems After the Rebate

The variation in prices below is mainly down to the quality of the hardware used. To use a car analogy (as most people are more familiar with car brands than solar power brands!) expect the lower price range to be "Hyundai/Kia" level brand and the upper cost to be a "BMW" level brand. I'll leave you to decide if BMWs are worth paying more for than Hyundais!

Approximate cost of a good quality solar system with Tier 1 solar panels (fully installed) as of October 2017:

3kW : $4,000 - $6,000
5kW : $5,000 - $8,500
10kW: $12,000 - $16,000

Microinverter Cost

If you want a good quality microinverter system, expect to add around 20% in cost to these price ranges.

Budget Inverters

If you want to downgrade to a reputable budget inverter (e.g Sungrow or Zeversolar), you may be able to save about $700 on these prices.

Finding the money

You may be looking at those prices and thinking: "Wow, that's a lot of money to find!". I agree. Which is why it is important to understand the payback and cashflows involved with solar panels, so you can assess if the cost is going to be a worthwhile investment for you.

I should also point out that you can buy solar systems at prices much lower than the ones above. But I would be wary of the quality of the components and installation that you will get if the price seems too good to be true.

Whether you finance your system via savings or by adding it to your mortgage, at current interest rates, you may even find that your solar power system pays for itself immediately. By that I mean that the savings from your reduced bills may outweigh either the extra repayments or the lost interest on your savings. Again this depends on lots of variables - so do your research.

To explore if this would be possible in your situation, I've created a "no BS" solar payback calculator that lets you try out different finance options and see the overall solar energy savings and cash flows over the lifetime of your system.

If you're considering installing solar panels for your home or business, SolarQuotes can help you get quotes from high-quality installers quickly and easily:

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>>Next: What Different Types Of Solar Panel Are Out There For You To Choose From? >>